Maputo — Mozambican Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita on Wednesday re-inaugurated the jetty in the southern city of Inhambane which will allow ferries of any size to cross the bay of Inhambane to the town of Maxixe at any time of day or night.
The jetties on both the Maxixe and Inhambane sides of the crossing were seriously damaged by Cyclone Dineo which struck Inhambane province in February 2017.
The Maxixe jetty was rebuilt first, and was re-inaugurated by President Filipe Nyusi in June this year.
The two jetties are vital for the ferry service across the Bay. The ferries are used by people who live in Maxixe or Inhambane, but work or study in the other city.
Although temporary jetties, made of local materials, were hastily erected after the cyclone, the two large ferry boats, owned by the company Transmaritima, that usually carry passengers between the two cities could not moor at them. These two boats, the "Magaluti" and the "Baia de Inhambane" had been paralysed since the cyclone, and so passengers came to depend on small, unsafe vessels to make the crossing.
At night, all crossings were suspended for safety reasons. Anyone who needed to travel between Inhambane and Maxixe after nightfall had to take the overland route, which is 60 kilometres long.
The repair of the Inhambane jetty was financed by the South Africa petrochemical company, Sasol, and cost 35 million meticais (about 584,000 US dollars). Sasol operates the Pande and Temane natural gas fields in the northern part of Inhambane province.
Mesquita said the Inhambane jetty has been completely rebuilt. This marked "the end of difficult moments experienced by the residents of the two cities, due to the suspension of night services across the bay due to the lack of security".
"Conditions have now been restored so that users can cross the bay in security and in comfort", he added.
Mesquita added that he wanted to see Transmaritima operate a regular ferry service. He called on the company to take its two large ferries into dock for any necessary repairs, and then draw up plans to ensure continuity in the transport of people and vehicles across the bay, avoiding congestion at either side.